It’s still common amongst mainstream journalists & academics to view the collapse of the Soviet Union as the fall of the final imperial project…the demise of which heralded a new age of independent sovereign states led by the freedom loving United States of America, which was, and is, committed to a world of democracy, freedom and human rights - the ‘Washington Consensus’. Or, as the media likes to call it ‘the international rules-based order’.
This is bullshit.
But…it’s a well-worn narrative. You can find it in Fukuyama’s essay ‘The End of History’ from 1989. An acolyte of Paul Wolfowitz and a researcher for the Rand Corporation, a Military-Industrial ‘think-tank’, Fukuyama was, at that time, a devout neoconservative:
“What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government”
He also said this:
"the class issue has actually been successfully resolved in the west…the egalitarianism of modern America represents the essential achievement of the classless society envisioned by Marx"
Despite the fact that this is transparent nonsense, the myth that we live in a post-imperial world of sovereign states under a rules-based order is still the prevalent narrative. This, from a recent academic paper on the subject:
“The defeat of fascist imperialism presaged the end of European overseas formal empire, a protracted, half-century process. The collapse of the Soviet Union ended the era of formal empire, replaced by a world order formally consisting of sovereign nation-states”
John Breuilly, ‘Modern Empires and Nation States’, London School of Economics, 2017
Note that he refers to the end of ‘formal empire’, and a world order ‘formally consisting of sovereign nation-states’. Although he does not go on to make the following point, I will:
The form is an illusion. In essence nothing has changed.
We are not in an age of sovereign independent nations; we are in 'the end times’ of a failing empire – an empire that serves the interests of oligarchs, bankers and politicians from diverse geographical locations, with different political allegiances, people who may even argue vehemently with each on specific issues…But…
When it comes down to the crux, they have one thing in common: they like things the way they are: a planet controlled by Uncle Sam’s military, global corporations, a fraudulent banking system, and the hegemony of the US dollar.
But it is on its way out.
I have written about this previously in ‘The end of the indispensable empire’, published at Renegade Inc in August 2017 https://renegadeinc.com/end-indispensable-empire/
I’d like to make the following additional points:
- The US has carried out 37 bombing campaigns since 1945. The countries effected include China, Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan. In the same period US special services have been involved in dozens of covert operations, considered illegal under the ‘international rules-based order’ that Washington and her poodles like to crow about
- The US is currently at ‘economic war’ through sanctions that effect hundreds of millions of people worldwide, including nations such as Russia, Venezuela, Syria, Libya, Cuba, Yemen and Iran
- There are a number of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ requirements that characterise empires in general, and the US Empire in particular. These include:
- Hard: Ever increasing natural resources, superior military, dominion over regions through local chiefs, control of trade routes, the dominant currency
- Soft: A moral crusade, an ‘invincible’ narrative, heroes
Looking at these hard and soft measures, I’ll make the following comments.
- Natural Resources: The US is not getting its own way in the Middle East. Syria has been a failure, Iran is now selling its oil to US competitors. China is way ahead of the US in terms of its arrangements in Africa
- Superior military: The recent weapon systems unveiled by Russia nullify the US ability to strike as and when it chooses. In short – Russia has a range of defensive and counter measures that are superior to US offensive measures
- Dominion over regions: The US plan for a middle east controlled by Israel and Saudi Arabia is not going according to plan, due to the resistance of Syria, Iran, & Lebanon, with the active involvement of Russia
- Trade Routes: Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’ was too little too late. China is ‘well down the silk road’ so-to-speak: it is establishing trade routes through Asia, Europe and Africa that are far in advance of anything the US is comfortable with
- Dominant currency. The dollar is still the global reserve currency and will remain so for the foreseeable future. But…Russia is selling its US Treasuries and acquiring significant gold reserves, Iran is selling its oil in other currencies, China is acquiring mountains of gold, largely ‘off-the-books’ & from domestic mining operations, and the EU is looking to set up its own payments system. It won’t be yet…but the dollar’s days are running out
- A moral crusade. Clearly, ‘the land of the free and home of the brave’ is now a sick joke. The US has by far the largest prison population per capita of any country. As I mentioned above, it has been responsible for millions of deaths around the world and has replaced regimes on all continents. In short, the US moral crusade of liberty, freedom and democracy is utterly phoney
- An ‘invincible’ narrative. Despite spending trillions of dollars on military hardware the US has been unable to get its own way in the Middle East. It has been overtaken by Russia in terms of defensive capability and is increasingly ignored by China in her sphere of influence
- Heroes. The death of John McCain is being pushed very heavily in the media as the passing of a great hero. If calling for war at every opportunity is heroic, then McCain was a hero. If supporting al-Qaeda in Syria and neo-Nazis in Ukraine is heroic, then McCain was a hero. If washing your hands of all the blood you've spilled and claiming it was for humanitarian reasons is heroic, then McCain was a hero. But it isn’t...and he wasn’t. John McCain was a warmonger, and the fact that his death is being presented as a great loss to the world is a symptom of the imperial sickness that grips Washington. None of the millions of people who lost friends and loved ones in America's wars will mourn the passing of John McCain, and neither will I
I'll leave you with this thought:
The US Empire will go the way of them all. It will collapse under the weight of its hubris, its cruelty and its overreach. As it does so, the deceit at its core will become increasingly apparent…the propaganda will not save it.